Russia laments ‘tragedy’ of troop deaths as Zelenskiy warns of atrocities in Borodyanka | Ukraine

Russia has issued its darkest assessment of its invasion yet Ukrainedescribing the “tragedy” of mounting troop losses and the economic hit of sanctions as Ukrainians were evacuated from eastern cities ahead of an expected major offensive.

The comments came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi announced the emergence of more atrocities, saying the situation in the city of Borodyanka was “much more catastrophic”. than in Bucha.

Moscow’s six-week invasion has fled more than 4 million people abroad, killed or injured thousands, reduced cities to rubble and led to sweeping sanctions against Russian leaders and companies.

In a symbolic move, the United Nations General Assembly Russia has been suspended from the UN Human Rights Council, and expressed “serious concern at the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis”. Russia then left the council.

Moscow has previously admitted its attack has not progressed as quickly as it would like, but on Thursday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov lamented the mounting death toll. “We have significant troop losses,” he told Sky News. “This is a great tragedy for us.”

Russia is in its most difficult economic situation in three decades due to unprecedented Western sanctions, its Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has said. In another blow, the US Congress stripped Russia of its trade status as “most favored nation”.

Kyiv has called on its western allies for more heavy weaponry and “devastating” sanctions against Moscow, saying the scale of an imminent Russian attack on eastern Ukraine would mean it remind NATO members of World War II.

“Either you help us now – and I’m talking about days, not weeks – or your help will come too late and many people will die,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at a meeting of his counterparts in the alliance in Brussels on Thursday.

Kuleba said he expected it then However, members to send Kyiv the weapons it needs, including air defense systems, artillery, armored vehicles and jets, insisted they must act quickly while Moscow refocuses its offensive on the Donbass region.

“I think the deal that Ukraine is offering is fair. You give us weapons; we sacrifice our lives and the war is contained in Ukraine. That’s it.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance has agreed to increase support to Ukraine, is delivering “a wide range” of weapons systems and will also provide cybersecurity support and equipment to protect against chemical and biological threats.

As peace talks between Russia and Ukraine continue via video, Turkey, which has hosted two meetings between the sides, said images of what appeared to be premeditated killings of civilians in Bucha and towns in the Kyiv region were “overshadowing” the negotiations and a ” Arise” would have ruined positive atmosphere”.

Images and videos of dead civilians, some with their hands tied, on the streets of Bucha after it was retaken by Russian invaders have sparked international outrage and renewed calls from Ukraine for more guns and tougher sanctions.

On Thursday, Zelenskyi said the situation in the city of Borodyanka was “much worse” than Bucha. “Debris clearance work has started in Borodyanka…it’s much worse there. More casualties from the Russian occupiers,” he said in a video published by the Telegram news service. The town is approximately 15 miles (24 km) from Bucha.

Borodyanka’s video showed search and rescue teams using heavy equipment to dig through the rubble of a collapsed building. It was feared that hundreds of people were buried.

Zelenskyi also warned that Russia was preparing “propaganda scenarios” in which Russian troops would make it appear that Ukrainian soldiers were responsible for the deaths of civilians in Mariupol.

Pro-Russian authorities in Mariupol said Thursday that 5,000 people had been killed in the besieged southern city. “Around 60-70% of the housing stock was destroyed or partially destroyed,” said Konstantin Ivashchenko, who is now the mayor of Mariupol, according to separatists in the breakaway Donetsk region.

Ukrainian authorities had presented a “conservative” estimate of 5,000 dead in the city, which they say is 90% destroyed, while suggesting there could be “tens of thousands of civilian casualties”.

For other developments:

  • Boris Johnson is set to receive the German Chancellor on Friday to discuss how Europe can help wean off Russian gas. The Prime Minister will hold talks with Olaf Scholz at Downing Street, with a press conference scheduled for the afternoon, PA Media reported.

  • Radio transmissions in which Russian soldiers appear to be talking about the execution intentional killings of civilians in Ukraine were intercepted by German foreign intelligence, a source close to the intelligence said.

  • The World Health Organization said Thursday it had confirmed more than 100 attacks on health services in Ukraine as it demanded humanitarian access to the besieged city of Mariupol.

  • Australia sends its first convoy of 20 converted Bushmaster armored vehicles to Australia Ukraine on C-17 Globemaster aircraft. They leave Brisbane on Friday.

  • Lithuania’s ambassador to Ukraine returned to Kyiv on Thursday after Russian forces withdrew from the Ukrainian capital, becoming one of the few diplomats to return to the city. Valdemaras Sarapinas said: “Political and moral support is very important for Ukrainians.”

  • Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall, who was injured in an attack in Kyiv, has taken to Twitter to discuss his injuries and said he has lost half a leg and a foot. He paid tribute to his colleagues killed in the attack, producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova and cinematographer Pierre Zakrzewski.

Russia launched a so-called “military special operation” on February 24 to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv and its western allies dismiss this as a false pretext.

EU ambassadors agreed a fifth package of sanctions against Russia with a coal embargo that includes a 120-day settlement period to give member states time to find alternative suppliers after pressure from Germany to postpone the measure.

Ukraine accused Hungary of undermining EU unity after Budapest said it was willing to pay rubles for Russian gas, a Kremlin demand opposed by most in the West.

On the battlefield, Ukraine says after withdrawing from Kyiv’s outskirts, Russia is regrouping to try to gain full control of eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which have been held in part by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

The besieged southern port of Mariupol, where more than 100,000 people are said to be still trapped, was also a target.

The two sides continued to exchange allegations, with Moscow opening a criminal investigation into allegations by a Russian soldier that he was beaten and threatened with death while being held as a prisoner of war in Ukraine.

Separately, a Reuters verified and geolocated social media video in an area west of Kyiv appears to show Ukrainian forces firing and Killing of a captured and badly wounded Russian soldier.

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